Sergey Esenin and doctor Faustus. Similarity of fates?
Very significant facts on the literary and personal peculiarities of the renown Russian poet Sergey Esenin (1895 - 1925), interesting also for this investigation, are shown in the fourth edition of the book "Father Arseniy" (the Publishing House of the Moscow Theological Institute named after St. Patriarch Tikhon, Moscow, 2000, p. 658-660), which include the numerous father Arseniy's spiritual children's memoirs. One of them, N.T. Lebedev, wrote down the former chief editor's of the publishing house "Soviet Writer" reminiscences about the poets of "the Silver age" with whom the latter had been on friendly terms in the pre-revolution Russia. This is the chief editor's, Iliya Sergeevich (unfortunately, there is no surname in the book) narrative:
"Sergey Esenin was undoubtedly endowed with a great poetical talent, refined lyrical feeling, loving tender for nature (for each rowan, and maple, and for every foolish foal), and yet his mental outlook was far from broad. His knowledge was shallow, just borrowed from casual conversations, and he was a perfect nought in philosophy. <…> He ardently tried to prove himself but due to the lack of education and mental outfit never could grasp what he wished. <…> He had repudiated Christianity, Jesus Christ, the Church and the Orthodox faith back in 1918, when he wrote the insultingly blasphemous poem "Inonia", and I have not heard him ever since calling what he wrote then a mistake. <…>
While poetising, he was always illumined by a strange inspiration which he himself could neither understand nor explain; however as soon as a verse or a poem was finished he was once more hidebound, banal, meagre and dull" (p.658).
This observation, made at first-hand by an experienced literary critic and the poet's immediate acquaintance, brings to light two distinctly different states in the renown poet's consciousness. In his ordinary state the poet's mental outlook was shallow and he evidently suffered from the lack of education. However, in the alternate state of consciousness he was totally changed. The transformation happened when he was "illumined by a strange inspiration which he could neither understand nor explain". Here also, as in Marina Tsvetaeva's case, the "strange inspiration" is likely to be just a contact with some inhuman mind realising through a human being its creative potential. When the contact was over, the poet again became "hidebound, banal, meagre and dull". (The same could be watched in Hitler when his maddening fiery speeches were over.)
The shady duplicity was noticed by the poet himself.
The editor's memoirs continue: "Once in a friendly talk he confessed: 'You see, I believe, or better, know for sure that God exists, and the Mother of God exists; and that they are not fools who go to church. But sometimes, when I am writing, I can't resist the itch to deride all this and to say the new word of a poet and a prophet' ". Evidently, it is not S. Esenin himself who is eager "to say the new word of a poet and a prophet", but the creature of parallel world pursuing its own ends. The thing is that a most commonplace blasphemy may become rather weighty when said by a famous poet, especially for the youth. This is what CPW count on. The poet himself is amazed by what he finds in his thoughts. The unaccountable paroxysms of blasphemous mood do not interfere with his belief, which in its turn do not avert him from sinful, heathenish life.
I think that the syndrome of plural personality dissociation, described in every textbook on psychiatry (F44.81 according to the International Disease Classification, 10th version) may be easily caused by such a mediumistic disposition of the patient when different creatures of parallel world "switch on" to his brain in turn expressing through him their individual features. The editor Ilia Sergeevich coveys a similar idea, when he distinguishes three distinctly different aspects Essenin's his image and says:
"It seemed as if there lived in him three incompatible individuals, simultaneously or by turns I can't say: 1) a lyrical genius trying to assert a philosophy of his own, yet not knowing a thing about it; a poet of tender 'Persian' motifs, worshipper of nature and women; 2) the "black man"; 3) an Orthodox Christian - at least by his upbringing and education in a parish school" (ibid., p. 659). It is quite possible that two CPW were "keeping in touch" with the poet: one more sentimental and the other more spiteful. The third personality, though markedly depressed by the two others, was the poet himself, cruelly suffering from dipsomania. There are, however, artists and, especially, actors used as tools for the self-express of a much greater number of spiritual entities from the parallel world. People usually say of such: "what a complicated character!" Yet they are rather "compound personalities", for there are sometimes two or more individual essences of different natures (one human and others non-human) expressing themselves through one and the same psycho-physiological human organism.
Independently from this work two S. Esenin's biographers arrived at the same conclusion: that the poet had maintained a close contact with certain beings from parallel world. Their opinions are published in the magazine "NLO" ("UFO") ¹ 44 for November 1, 1999: "The researcher of Esenin's life and work E.V.Kurdakov presumes that the poet's numberless riots are due to some alien influence on his mind" (p.11). And the writer A.Varakin tells a curious story which he has heard from an acquaintance: "Once P. was visiting Esenin at his place in St.Petersburg. In the poet's room he was met by three freaks with huge heads on tiny bodies, enormous eyes and feebly marked mouths and noses. <…> Esenin behaved as if nothing was out of the way. Then suddenly he rushed out and soon was back with his walking stick, jumped on the poor things thrashing them on their heads and putting them to flight" (ibid.). The freaks' appearance, described by Varakin, resembles very much that of the so-called 'humanoids' coming out of the flying objects in the so-called 'third type of contacts' of today. It might even be possible that this very creatures (and not the notorious State security agents, as it is customary to believe) were the true performers of the poet's death.
Such view has the right to exist no less than any other hypothesis, taking into account a great number of present-day reports on humanoids' aggressiveness towards those who communicate with them. 'Contacts of the third type' more often than not end in serious injuries and sometimes in the destruction of those contacting. Such things were as well registered by antique and medieval authors.
In this connection it might be interesting to analyse the Old German sources concerning the death of Doctor Johann Faustus - a real person in the 16-century Germany. Christopher Marlou and then Johann Wolfgang Goethe made him a world-known symbol of a man allying himself to the devil in order to acquire non-human abilities. The real Doctor Faustus was indeed known in the early 16th century as an outstanding magician, necromant and astrologist. He was born in the land of Wurtemberg bordering upon Pfalz; graduated from the Haidelberg and then the Krakov universities, where a course of magic was then part of the ordinary curriculum. Manly P.Hall quotes an extract of the textbook on magic compiled by doctor Faustus himself, where he dwells at length on his own longstanding contact with a creature of parallel world named Asiel (see Manly P.Hall, c. 369).
J.Faustus' death attracted attention of a whole number of his contemporary authors - Johann Wirr (1568), Augustine Lerhaimer (1597) and others. Here is Andreas Hondorff's testimony: "When his time was up he called on an inn in one of the Vurtemberg villages. Asked about his dismal look, he replied to the innkeeper: 'This night you will hear a terrible crash and your house will tremble all through, but don't be afraid'. In the morning he was found dead in his bed with a wrung neck" (Andreas Hondorff. "Promptuarium exeplorum: Historien und Exempelbuch". 1568).
Another Faustus' contemporary, who had studied together with him in the Wurtemberg university and who eventually became one of the leading figures in the Reformation and Luther's closer friend and follower, Phillip Melanchton tells the same of the terrible Faustus' end and adds: "It must be said in addition that this Faustus was such a mischievous flibbertigibbet and led so obscene a life that more than once he was to be killed for debauchery" ("Locorum communium collectanea, a Johanne Manlio per multos annos pleraque tum ex lectionibus D.Philippi Melanchtonis, tum ex aliorum doctissimorum virorum relationibus excerpta et nuper in ordinem ab eodem redacta". Basileae. 1563, p. 42).
A Protestant theologian Johann Ghast, who also knew Faustus personally, wrote: "The poor wretch met a dreadful end: the devil smothered him. His body was lying prone in the coffin, though five times it had been put in the proper position" ("Tomus sekundus Convivalium Sermonum, partim ex probatissimus historiographis, partium exemplis innumeris, quae nostro saeculo acciderunt, congestus, omnibus verarum virtutum studiosis utilissimus". Basileae, 1548, p.280).
All this evidence strikes with two points. One is that Faustus knew his death hour in advance. Quite possibly it had been determined in the contract with Asiel (the fact of a written contract signed between them Faustus mentions in his book). That gave him an opportunity to warn the innkeeper: 'This night you will hear a terrible crash and your house will tremble all through, but don't be afraid'. The other striking point is the terrible noise and shaking of the house at midnight, mentioned by Johannes Weier: "He was found dead in one of the Wurtemberg villages, lying beside his bed with the wrung head. People say that at midnight the house suddenly shook" (Johannes Weier. "Von Teuffelsgespenst… verteutscht von Johanne Fuglino". Frankfurt am Mein, 1586).
Augustine Lercheimer, professor of the Haidelberg University, does not hesitate to proclaim evidently that Faustus was killed by a creature of parallel world: "The same ghost pitiless put him to death, having been in his service for twenty four years" (Augustin Lercheimer von Steinfelden. "Cristlich Bedenken und Erinnerung von Zauberei". 1585).
There seems to be a strange similarity between the two deaths: of the sadly famous doctor Faustus in a small German inn - and of the talented Russian poet Sergey Esenin in the Petrograd hotel 'Angleter'. If the analogy is true, then the same spiritual entities who had inspired the blasphemous lines in the dare-devil poet could well cause his sinister end.
Sergey Esenin's fate may serve a symbol of a great multitude of Russian prodigal young people of the time. Having lost the Orthodox outlook the poet lost the sense and purpose of his very life abandoning himself to passions, which charged him with enmity towards God, Whose existence, however, he never denied. Deprived of the Divine grace through numberless sins, his soul became a toy for some mutinous spirits that incited the poet to violent craving for freedom interpreted as a scornful contempt for all moral laws given by the Creator. Playing on emotions the blasphemous spirits made the poet write blasphemous verses suppressing all that was still sacred for his heart, along with his child memory of the loving God. Yet when the depressing spirit left him free for a while, the poet created shining pieces of poetry filled with the aching love of his Motherland. Something of the kind was taking place as well in the young Russian chaps in the Red-army greatcoats in 1917-18 when they gladly chanted 'Christ has risen' during the Easter week and then readily resumed the 'bloody battle for the Soviet power'.